Go-Fast Blast From the Past: Skater 18-S

The Skater 18-S started it all for Douglas Marine.

The Skater 18-S was unveiled in 1974.Douglas Marine

The boat that started it all for Douglas Marine, the Skater 18-S, was unveiled in 1974 by current company president Peter Hledin and his brother Alex. The early boats had center pods, but eventually, Hledin did away with that and made the 18-S a pure tunnel. "It was a pretty advanced boat for its time," said Hledin, the president of Douglas Marine, which builds the Skater boats. "It had six seats, a fold-up table and built-in coolers." The layout consisted of back-to-back seats up front with fold-away jumpers aft. The table was between the aft jump seats and the coolers were in the aft deck. Hledin took an 18-S to the Powerboat Magazine Performance Trials in 1983 and the official speed with a 200-hp Mariner (A Mercury brand for those too young to remember) outboard was 80 mph. Hledin told me emphatically that he got the 18-S to run 85 mph once with a 200-hp outboard.